Food company Kerry faces OSHA fine for worker injuries at Melrose Park plant

Irish food products company Kerry Inc. has been cited by federal safety inspectors after two workers at its Chicago-area plant were injured on the job because the company allegedly failed to enforce safety procedures.

One worker’s hand was amputated while clearing out a bread crumb conveyor at the plant in Melrose Park, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a news release. The 52-year-old worker was injured Aug. 17. On Sept. 27, a 57-year-old worker cleaning a dough machine had a forearm broken in multiple places when a mixing blade rotated unexpectedly.

OSHA said it found in both instances that the company allowed employees to work on machines without properly isolating parts, a process known as lockout/tagout. Kerry faces $87,000 in potential fines.

“The injuries suffered by these employees could have been prevented if their employer had followed required safety procedures to isolate energy to the machines before allowing workers to service them,” said Angeline Loftus, OSHA’s area director for its Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines. “Kerry needs to make immediate changes to its safety procedures to protect its workers on the job.”

Kerry has 15 days to address the citation. A Kerry spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The company’s U.S. headquarters are in Beloit, Wis.

This article was first published by The Chicago Tribune.

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